I'm Just Getting Started - A Little Help Please

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by wld3, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. wld3


    Jun 22, 2008

    Having recently purchased my bass (Schecter C-4) and a practice amp (Acoustic B20) I have been picking up accessories (stand, tuner, etc.) and planning to order instructional materials so that I can really get started with practice and playing. I just have a few more questions that I'd appreciate a little help on.

    [1] CABLE When I bought my amp, I mentioned that I would need an instrument cable and the salesperson gave me one. In other words, it was a nice gesture but it is a generic/bulk 18' cable. Should I just use this, barring any problems, or would it be wise to go ahead an invest a bit of money into something better like Mogami or Bayou Audio Cables?

    [2] BOOKS I've picked out my basic instruction materials (Hal Leonard Bass Method with Ed Friedland; book with parts 1, 2 and 3, CDs, and a companion DVD.) I'm also planning to pick up the Bass Tab White Pages to have a nice collection of various types of songs to learn to play. Where I'm not so sure is when I think of what else to get. Here are some things I've seen and/or have been suggested for me:

    101 Bass Tips by Gary Willis (lots of info, unsure how much is applicable for a beginner)

    Bass Fitness by Josquin des Pres (similar issue, lots of exercises, but may be something I should pick up after I start practicing and playing some)

    HL Bass Method Music Theory for Bassists by Sean Malone (I'm very interested in this as it offers a lot of fundamental information, however, this too may can wait)

    Instruction book(s)/CD(s) by Carol Kaye (a fellow TalkBass member recommended this, and I don't doubt that it is worthwhile, I just wonder if anyone else has any first-hand experience with the material and can let me know more about it; her web site is kind of weak on the details)

    [3] STRAP A strap? I don't need no stinkin' strap. Do I? I was planning to skip the purchase of a strap because I'll be playing exclusively in my room, sitting down. Even so, I read where one instructor suggests that even when sitting, you should use a strap. The rationale is that it will help hold the neck/head of the bass up and the position when you are sitting will be similar to when you are standing; something that he suggests is desirable. I question this because when I am sitting the body of the bass is higher than I would care to wear it strapped when standing. I get the idea, but couldn't the same thing be accomplished by simply holding the instrument correctly? Is this a non-issue or should I just buy a strap?

    Ok. I know these are kind of weak questions but please understand that I am just getting started (re-started I guess, I 'messed around' with bass when I was younger) and want to get off on the right foot. I appreciate any advice/suggestions that you are willing to share.


  2. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    [1] your cable won't make an enormous difference if you are just starting out. i'd say save your money for now. or spend it on effects pedals...heh

    [2] the theory book would be useful i bet. to me, music is math. understanding some of the 'rules' that govern it is incredibly useful for being a good player. not completely necessary, but useful.

    [3] yep, you need a strap. if you don't use one, you'll develop bad posture/playing habits. and if you ever plan on playing in a band, you'll be standing up anyway, unless you play in one of those fancy sit-down bands...
  3. you wont really need much of anything right now but a woodshed.....paganjack is right tho you do need a strap and devote say fifteen minutes a day standing practice and add five min a day per week or so until you can comfortably play the equivalent of three sets standing up...pick up a used strap at the local pawn
  4. Thunderthumbs73

    Thunderthumbs73 Supporting Member

    May 5, 2008
    Keep the cable. You'll ultimately replace it, but it will work fine for now. Generic or not. Take the money you were planning on spending on a cable, and put it toward a strap. Some people would probably even give you one, if you had some musician friends.

    Books you mentioned are fine. Check out youtube- a great, great resource for seeing songs and technique broken down/isolated/investigated. I wished I had when I was starting. And this place ain't so bad either...

    Stick with it. Ask if you have questions. No question at this point, for sure, is a dumb one!
  5. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    Buy a Monster Cable. They're expensive, but they have this fancy little warranty where if it ever breaks for any reason at all you take it to any store that sells them and get a new one FREE. I bought one six years ago, and I'm probably on my ninth or tenth cable. $50. Solid investment.

    No advice on books.

    Buy a strap, even if it's a $2 cloth one.
  6. wld3


    Jun 22, 2008
    Actually, for the most part, I've heard that Monster Cables aren't really high quality. I don't really know, however, your suggestion that you've taken advantage of the warranty ten times in six years would seem to support that.

  7. wld3


    Jun 22, 2008
    Ok, so a strap it is. I don't think I'll grab a $2/pawn shop one though. I'm not too keen on picking up my bass from the floor where it has fallen. :(

    Thanks for the advice. I'll try to find a decent strap.

  8. wld3


    Jun 22, 2008
    Thanks. I appreciate that sentiment.

  9. doktorfeelgood

    doktorfeelgood layin' it down like pavement

    I'm not a Moster Cable company spokesman, but I've had 2 Monster bass cables for about 7 years....A 12 footer and a 21 footer and never had any problems with them. But that 12 footer was a replacement for the original one that I bought that went bad. It went bad from me dropping the jack on a bare stage floor repeatedly, after I unlpugged it out of my bass. That's not a good thing to do to any cable and I should have know better. But when that first cable went bad, it was replaced with no receipt and no questions asked.
    I'm mostly using a couple of Planet Waves cables I bought recently but there's nothing wrong with Monster Cable bass cables and I will be using the ones that I have again and look forward to many more gigs with no problems. )-(
  10. wld3


    Jun 22, 2008

    Ok. I honestly appreciate the thoughts. (Really.) Yet, whether Monster cables are good or not is not really germane to the purpose of this thread. Its my own fault for bringing it up, I know. I do hope, however, that people will forgo further discussion on the value of Monster brand cables.

    That is, I hope that people will continue to read and respond to my three areas of question above.

    Restated simply:

    1) Should I keep the cheapie cable (as long as it works ok) or should I go ahead and invest something better? (Name brand discussion not necessary.)

    2) Which of these materials would you recommend (or not) or do have any other suggestions?

    101 Bass Tips by Gary Willis
    Bass Fitness by Josquin des Pres
    HL Bass Method Music Theory for Bassists by Sean Malone
    Instruction book(s)/CD(s) by Carol Kaye

    3) Do I need to get a strap if I don't intend to play outside of my bedroom? I think is asked and answered. I'm going to go ahead and get a strap.


  11. myhot4


    Jul 11, 2006
    Sydney Australia
    The cable is fine. You will always need a backup for future anyway.

    Ed freidlands books will give you plenty to work on, without looking into other books.

    Buy a strap.

    Other things to consider. Buy a metronome and join a band.
  12. wld3


    Jun 22, 2008
    Well, I just bought the Korg CA-30 tuner. I guess I could take it back and get the Korg TM-40 tuner/metronome.

    I also had considered using Metronome Online.

  13. Lefty Geek

    Lefty Geek

    Feb 13, 2006
    [1] Keep the cable.
    [2] I will others chime in.
    [3] Practice standing up. Basses are heavy, and I would invest in a good strap. No need for a $200, a $30 wide strap are nice.

    My tip is to always be in tune. Practice using your ears, not just your fingers. You can find computer based metronomes for free. Get a decent pedal tuner, it is not wasted money. If you join a band, you will need something pedal based. Learn to be in tune!
  14. wld3


    Jun 22, 2008
    Is the Korg CA-30 not sufficient? "Accuracy: 1 cent" ... "The Calibration function supports a wide range of standard pitches, and can be adjusted in 1 Hz steps for accurate and flexible tuning to any song or key."

    Assuming you would still suggest the pedal tuner... do you have any recommendations as to make/model?

    Korg's Pitchblack pedal is about $90 as opposed to $20 for the CA-30. Fender and Dean Markley make less expensive models with the same accuracy standard but missing some other features.

    If the CA-30 is accurate then, even though I appreciate the suggestion to practice using my ears as well as my fingers, I'll wait on the pedal tuner and get a solid one as warranted in the future.

  15. wld3


    Jun 22, 2008
    This is what I was thinking as well; just a decent wide strap.

    And, since I'm getting a strap, I may as well find a good position for my bass and practice, at least most of the time, while standing.

    I'll see how it works out but, in any case, the strap question is settled.

  16. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    The wider the shoulder pad of your strap the happier you will be. Practicing standing up sometimes, one day you will want to play with other people.

    Play with your cable till you destroy it, I recommend a cloth coated cable...I found a brand of these that was also lifetime guarantee...the cable is so old I can't read the brand name anymore, but its still working without a rip, tear or kink in it after 6 years, *squints* annazio maybe?

    Not familiar with any of them, besides 101 tips which I flipped through in the store and would be a waste of money for a beginner, its full of stuff like "Don't let a drunk drummer carry your rig up the stairs," "get to the show extra early and be nice to the sound guy."

    Other than that I can tell you a lot of people recommend Carol Kaye's stuff as well as Bass for dummies and the Hal Leonard bass method series/complete edition.

    Look for a book with exercises interspersed between theory lessons, if your book has stuff about the circle of fifths, arpeggios/chords, chord progressions, reading music, reading rhythm and exercises you should be in good shape.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    The CA-30 is fine. I play professionally and that's the tuner I use. It's not the greatest tuner ever made but it's accurate and easy to read.